Channel Marketing Campaigns - Do they Work?

Posted: 4/26/2013 by 13

Providing channel partners with collateral and an online platform that allows them to co-brand, dispatch and track marketing campaigns may sound like a great idea but realistically how many resellers actually use them? Most of the time it’s a great deal of extra work with no (or very little) reward so the question is why bother?

Barriers, barriers and more barriers…

For those resellers who don’t have a dedicated marketing team, i.e. the small, often local resellers, online co-branding services should provide a perfect solution for those who want to increase their marketing activity and raise their end-user brand awareness – content, images and translations all paid for by the vendor and are free! However, resellers with an internal marketing team or the support of an external agency, what benefit will they see from this automated service? Not much…

Most channel partners work with tens of suppliers; is pushing one vendor message really worth the extra effort? Most resellers would prefer to either (best option) push their own brand and messaging or (second best option) market multiple suppliers at the same time, which many vendors will not agree to reimburse!

In addition, many channel partners also, do not like to share their customer data. You’ll need to create specific terms and conditions, with NDA clauses, or you’ll have to work through a third party agency and provide a completely ‘outsourced’ campaign on demand/ co-marketing service.

All of these can be very challenging for a vendor causing increased workload and cost associated with creating channel to end-user versions of all the collateral including new variations of direct mails, emails, brochures, etc. plus translations – none of which come cheap and all of which increase time to market meaning you’ll only be able to create ‘campaigns’ perhaps a few times a year (at best)…not very ‘real-time’, is it?

Another critical piece to think about is the ‘spamming issue’. Are end-users actually reading the untargeted emails they receive? And, can you tell 100% whether the leads are generated by the telemarketing campaigns that follow or just by the co-branded marketing elements themselves?

Time for something new?

While there is still a place for informative emails (as long as they are targeted and relevant), isn’t it time vendors think outside the box when planning or creating end-user campaigns?

Which media will make the biggest impact, the highest response and more importantly, generate the most sales? With budgets being more and more scrutinized, spending and getting a good return on investment is imperative today (always was, but we managed to avoid tracking). In the rapidly-evolving world of social media, already affecting B2C and now B2B customers, is the need for ‘traditional’ campaign on demand platforms and programs still valid and real?

Tools such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn prove time and time again that word of mouth and personal recommendations carry far more weight and credibility than most marketing campaigns. The benefit of many social media tools is the simplicity with which the messages are conveyed – there are no fancy HTML headers or space-consuming images, just factual text by one individual or company.

Is there a way you, the vendor, can have access to your channel partners’ end-user audience and deliver your message to them, easily (for your partners) and cost-effectively (for you)?

If you haven’t already, it might make sense to start looking at a social content syndication tool for the channel. It is a very viable option… a radical one… yet, an option that will change the way you market through your channel partners.

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